" I know you are not in the teaching noobs business and so on, I just had to ask since I am looking to build a market and JF seems a really important tool, do you know of any online guides or resources I could look at before investing in one?"
-Questions from Eve MailI actually love teaching when I have something to teach. I hang out in Eve Uni Public Help chat for this very reason. I also like a lot of the people there. But really, I am there to answer the endless questions that are asked time and time again. Someone has to. I believe in investing in the future. For me to have Eve to play I need to have other people also playing Eve. A bit of time when I'm idle scanning the window and answering questions is valuable time spent, in my opinion. I have what I have to give and I give of it freely.
But jump freighters. I have opinions in lieu of guides or resources and hopefully that will do. Most of the resources available are about planning your jumps. Jump Freighter's are not unlimited travel options. They have a distance that they can travel.
The ICSC Jump Planner is an invaluable tool.
Dotlan also has a Jump Planner.
As I wrote about over the spring and summer, I put a lot of time and effort into earning the ISK to buy one of these puppies. I've trained the skills to fly them and I find mine to be an invaluable tool. My jump freighter alt will be finishing Caldari Freighter V which is a month long train. I am putting in a month just to gather the last 5% bonus to cargo space that skill will give me because it is that important to what I do.
For many who have talked to me about starting a market, getting the items from point A to point B is the biggest challenge. The easiest answer is "pay someone else." While that is a true answer and a real piece of advice it does not give people what they need. What they need is options and a way to do it themselves. I don't always make people happy with the advice that I give but then I am not a perfect person.
I am going to start with the most interesting method I've been told about. Tavi is a man who decided to bring a market to the ass end of null sec where his corporation rents. His alliance has a jump freighter service but it is expensive. Tavi is not rich but he is motivated. His solution is beautiful.
He uses wormholes.
I felt a bit dumb that I'd not thought of that. I think of wormholes are things to go and do things in and be irritated by. Also, scanner clutter. However, Tavi uses them to get from Empire into null sec. He scans down a wormhole, checks its mass, jumps his freighter into the system, does his shopping, returns, and jumps back in. While that sounds super simple its a bit more complicated but not overly so. It is not stable or 100% guarantied but eve is riddled with wormholes. Some go to wormhole space but lots just go from point A to point B.
Next we have T2 haulers. These come in two flavors. Blockade Runners and Deep Space Transports. For someone who is on the edge of high sec or well scouted/blue null sec these are both reasonable choices. If you are not carring hulls a lot of stuff fits into a Blockade Runner. If hulls a Deep Space Transport is going to be a better choice. With proper fits and scouting both of these ships are invaluable tools, especially in low sec. My Blockade Runners are one of my most used ships. I move things around for myself, supply my POS, do my drugs, and sometimes fill my market if I don't have a massive bulk to bring.
The down side of Blockade Runners is their size. Fully expanded they can fit one cruiser. This is a mind numbing pain when moving large amounts of hulls for a market. Deep Space Transports have considerably more room. Also, they have a natural warp strength against points. With proper fitting you can slide through lots of the most basic of gatecamps. Remember, Heavy Interdictors with infinity scripts will ruin your day and some people use them to camp.
Shallow Low Sec can be defeated with good timing and good scouting. Some may not admit it but freighters are jumped into low sec every day. A support fleet can be very helpful. A second ship applying webs can also give a freighter amazing speed to bounce through gates in quiet low sec at off peak hours. An Orca is even faster.
To move back to paying someone else: With planning one can limit the need to pay a service to do jumps. A jump freighter costs six billion ISK. Currently Black Frog costs seventy five million ISK. Doing math that equates to eighty Black Frog payments to equal one Jump Freighter purchase.
Now, the Jump Freighter has convenience and convenience is amazing. But, convenience comes with cons.
Jump Freighters mean two accounts. I'm not going to be a hero. There is a significant amount of my time invested in my jump freighter. I mean to secure it as well as I can. That means I am my own cyno most of the time. I have corporation members who I trust to light cynos for me but someone with a jump capable ship should never (in my opinion) not have a way to move their own capital.
A jump freighter is expensive. Replacing it is not in everyones budget. The risk vs reward of this ship has to be considered. People do kill them just because they are expensive. Does it happen all of the time? No. But I belong to a group that ganks for the joy of ganking. There are many others who do the same. The cost and ease of the jump freighter is to be balanced by the actual need for it. Many people find themselves with a jump freighter that they never use. Now, someone running a market outside of high sec will need this ship very much but I would also say that they should make sure they want to continue to run the market before this particular investment is considered.
How often do you need to use it? I fill my jump freighter up multiple times a week moving hulls. Other large volume things such as isotopes, stront, and ozone will also pack on the weight. In the end the work workarounds are just inconvenient and the cost of that inconvenience should be considered. Some will say that the cost is not worth the price but I believe that is a personal decision. The level of market run is very personal and while new market and small wallet friendly it means that time has to be spent instead of ISK to create what one wants created.
Doing lots of leg work logistics will also give an idea if that type of game is even enjoyed. It is very easy to over invest at the start. While enthusiasm is great I also believe that it can be an unintentional trap. Jump Freighters are beautiful ISK sinks that should be considered thoroughly before purchase.
And don't forget the character. A lot of skill points go into a jump freighter pilot. Mine happens to be a market + jump freighter + industry + rorqual + mining pilot who is currently at 28 million skill points and training. They can be purchased off of the market or trained into but one way or another a jump freighter is a considerable investment. Plus, the amount of buckets to hold the tears when you plug in Jump Freighter V (as I just did today) and realize that it is a 68 day skill will break you if you are not prepared.